Heard the term 'whiplash' but not entirely sure what it means or if you have ever suffered from it before? Whiplash is a very common injury from being hit from behind in a car crash. A whiplash injury occurs when there is a sudden acceleration-deceleration force, that causes unrestrained forward and backward movement of the head and neck. Whiplash is generally not a life threatening condition but can cause a few aches and pains. Unfortunately it can be very overlooked and can later cause neck issues.
Symptoms of whiplash include:
- neck pain & stiffness
- shoulder pain & stiffness
- Jaw/TMJ pain
- arm pain & weakness
- visual disturbances
- tinnitus/ringing in your ears
- back pain
Whiplash associated disorder
This relates to more severe & chronic (lasting longer than 6 months) cases. This can have additional symptoms. These may include:
- personality changes (anger, frustration, anxiety, depression)
- drug dependency
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- lack of concentration
- sleep disturbance
What people often do not realise
Whiplash can often cause ligament sprains, in particular to the ligaments in the upper neck/cervical spine. This can cause the ligaments to become weak and often be the cause of upper neck pain, years later. As osteopaths we always ask about previous injuries and motor
vehicle accidents for this (and other) reasons.
A simple exercise that you can do to strengthen your upper neck is a 'chin tuck'. As demonstrated in the image, it is simply 'making your chin disappear into your neck'. Place your fingers on your chin and pull your chin straight back in towards your neck. Do not pull your chin downwards! Only pull your chin backwards. An ideal time to do this is during a break at work, brushing your teeth (don't need to place fingers on your chin, can do movement only), tv ad breaks and so on.
How can osteopaths help?
Whiplash and car crashes can cause a variety of aches and pains. Dizziness that can be caused by car crashes can relate to the upper neck. Osteopathic treatment is aimed at alleviating the aches and pains that can be caused by whiplash and any other injuries you may have obtained. When necessary your osteopath may refer you for imaging to rule out any additional damage that may have been caused.
Book in now to fix those aches and pains